Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles
Issue link: http://magazine.cyclenews.com/i/103723
For the most part, I am happy because I wanted to win and put the pressure on myself. J knew it was going to take some time, and I'm real happy with the way it worked out. How did you wind up with Team Yamaha? Mount Morris kind of turned everybody on to me. Yamaha started talking to me and came down to Loretta Lynn's to watch me ride, and I felt that they had the best program for me at the time and feel it has definitely worked out for the est. I think Mount Morris kind of trigered it - and then they wen t to all of ,my amateur races and it all worked out. Yamaha, which just signed you to a long-term contract, obviously has a lot of faith in you. To me, It seems like they are .building the future of the team around you. Can you tell us about the team? ,Yeah, I'm glad I was able to get there at a young age. I have a lot of confidence in the team and the bike and all that, and I know I can win on it. In fact I think anyone can win on it. The team itself is just perfect. We all get along and they are great guys - every single one of them. It's nice to be racing with them at a young age and to be able to build with them and do some winning for Yamaha. The guys all deserve it because each one f them works so hard. It is really good 'to be with someone the en tire time because I'm not really into moving. There might come a time when it is better to move, but I'm real happy right now. How influential has Bob Hannah been on you career and results? Is he really ,helpful to the team? 'Yes, he is. He is always there for any ,questions that we may have or anything we need. When I first came in, he was real helpful because of all he has been 'through and all he has done. He might not be at the races as much anymore, but he .always calls and checks on us to se~ how everything is going, or to go ;riding. He is a real good friend. from the two years you were teammates, how well did you and Damon Bradshaw get along? . Bradshaw was, to me, very good. I have no problems with him. With both of us flying airplanes, we never really talked about racing. A lot of the time when we were hanging out on a Saturday at an outdoor National, we would go to an air museum. We both had a few interests that kind of kept our racing at the track. That was good fo;r me, to relax on Saturaay and kick back and got my mind off the race for a. few hours. I take things f (Above) Windham !'nd '96 Yamaha teammate Damon Bradshaw share a laugh In the pits. Windham and Bradshaw are both avid airplane pilots. (Right) Windham and his mechanic, Alley Semar, survey the start chute before his win at the Binghamton, New York, round of the AMA National Motocross series. really seriously and get pretty nervous at times and definitely start thinking about the race a little too early. So it was good for me to get out and not think about racing, so we got along real well because of that. I guess I would like it if he were' still on the team - but I'm not sure what he has going on for next year. . I get the feeling that you are surrounded by very good people at Yamaha and that they are being careful to let your career develop at a comfortable pace. Would you agree? Yeah, definitely. Each one of us gets along great. That is what I like about it, because like what you touched upon earlier, with not having a lot of close friends anymore because you have to jump on an airplane and leave every couple days, it is kind of hard. Sometimes Dowdy (John Dowd) will come out and stay at the house, or Doug (Hemy) will come out, or th.e mechanics and everybody, and we all go out after the races. It is good to be able to do that. Me and my mechanic (Alley Seymar) probably have the best relationship of . all because we just bought a house together, so it all works out really well. These things have made it a lot easier on me from a lifestyle perspective. 1996'has been a pretty amazing year for you, hasn't it? Yes, there are a few things I would like to work on after looking back' on it. It was the first real outdoor year for me. I definitely learned a lot, getting out and racing with Lamson. There were seven tracks this year that I have never ridden, but all in all, I am extremely happy. I wouldn't want to c-omplaiIi a bit and I definitely think I got my feet wet and learned some new things that wilJ be great for next year. Your results in the Nationals were outstanding. You and Lamson won all 13 AMA Nationals. In fact, you won the . last four motos of the season, beating Lamson heads-up at Steel City. Do you expect to win the 1997 AMA 125cc National Championship? . (Pause) Of course. that is the goal and it is a long way away. But what can you say about Lamson? He has the experience, the talent and the speed, so I definitely have my WInk cut out for me. I think it is going to be good racing. Regardless of how fast I am going, he is always going to· be there and, depending on the track and how I am feeling, he is going to be there. It is going to come down to being in shape and two 35-minute motos and just being on top of things. It is going to be great racing all the way thrau·gh. I don't think we will know halfway through the season. Your supercross season also went really well, but I got the feeling that you put more emphasis on the.outdoors. Do you have a preference between the two? I feel that the Nationals take more concentration. Supercross comes a little easier to me. I feel smoother on the track and the motos are only 16 laps on the 125s - it's just a little bit easier. I like them both, but as long as I'm riding a motorcycle, it doesn't matter to me. J think you have to be in better shape in outdoor motocross. Many motocross insiders are predicting that you and Sebastien Tortelli will be the next riders to dominate the sport. What's your take on that? [ have never even met the guy. I've heard a lot about his racing - at the Motocross des Nations and all that. It sounds like he is on his way. I think that no matter where somebody comes from, there is always going to be somebody who is as fast. We are riding so close to the edge, that a fraction of a second is precious at the end of a moto. I guess he is on his way over and J think he will definitely be one of the guys to beat, but .as far as ruling the sport in the fu lure, I love that. I guess that is everybody's goal, and that is what I am working to do. I know it will be very hard, but I would love to be able to live up to that statement. How do you feel about all the French racers coming to America to race? It is a Httle bit hard to even get to know them. At the race, you are not really there to stand around and talk - you are there concentrating. I think it is good that they are here. It doesn't matter to me, it is just another guy I have to beat. It doesn't matter where they're from, you don't th4U< of who is from where. You just have to go out there and do your job. Do you think that the "top five in GP motocross are ineligible for AMA 125cc Supercross" rule is a bit sketchy? It's hard to say, really. I know to me - I have a year of experience - it doesn't matter personally. I also know that the 125cc class is the beginning step - to learn. It is good for the guys coming up in the future. It always seems like they're making a new rule to change things. How did you feel when you first started riding in the stadiums? You show up and there are 55,000 fans up in the stands. Does that affect you at all? Does it intimidate you? You know, that is just a part of it that makes this job so tough. There are a lot of eyes and lights and cameras - and just the whole thing. Riding professionally, it all ties into one. The crowd doesn't get as intimidating as the competition. Like this year, once I got out front, I enjoyed riding in front of the crowd. What do you have planned for t.he Eurppean and Asian Supercross season? This being my first full year, and after riding both the 125cc and 250cc in Supercross this year, I plan to ride the . events in Japan and then try to lay Iowa little bit and get myself back on track (Windham won the Osaka, Japan, Supercross). I want to take a little bit of time off and take some vacation before the American season starts up in January. I just got back from Hawaii where I just took it easy for a week. I went surfing and did all the tourist stuff - it was a lot of fun. Were you happy to hear the U.S. team won the Motocross des Nations Championship back? Yes, that is definitely good. I felt really good about that. I did good ill the last couple of races and I felt good that I was able to run with the guys that did so well over there. It is good for the United States, as well. It is great that we won it back after going over there the last two years and having one problem or another. Would you like to ride on the team 'next year? That very well could have been you out there on the team. Yes, I'd love to do that. It seems like a lot of fun. I don't really know all the details of doing it - I'm sure that there is a lot more to jt th.an meets the eye. But I would definitely love to do it. It would be an honor to be one of the top three guys to represent the country. ['N'